Managing for Success

5 sure-fire ways to account for all the work you’ve done so you can Stay Creative.

Whether you’re in a design team charging back to an internal department, or part of a creative group working directly with clients, accounting for all the work you’ve done is one of the most important – and neglected – ways to Stay Creative.

Tracking time allows you to do more of the work you love, supports your creativity, and improves communication with your team and clients.

5 Essential ways to account for all the work you do – and make time to Stay Creative:

  1. Look back to leap forward. One of the best ways to give yourself enough time for your creative process is to really understand previous projects – how long they took (vs how long you estimated), how long each phase lasted, and how much time went to each task. This lets you create more accurate and detailed estimates for similar jobs, building in time for creativity.

  2. Stay ahead of the game. Staying agile and on top of emerging trends is key for creatives wanting to control costs and grow into a successful future. Often, though, day-to-day crises, deadlines, and administrative tasks take over. When the industry landscape changes – as it will – you’re left scrambling to catch up. The only way to find time to keep up is to carve time into your schedule – and account for it like any project.

  3. Focus in. Somewhat surprisingly, the simple act of tracking time, and accounting for your work seems to help improve creative focus. Instead of wrestling with 5 projects at once, all swirling about in a kind of creative soup in your brain, you become better at dealing with projects one at a time. Each gets your undivided attention while you’re working on it enabling more thoughtful solutions to creative challenges.

  4. Sow accountability, reap trust. Proper business management – whether you’re the CEO of a large creative company, a small team of in-house creatives, or a lone-wolf freelancer – positively affects client satisfaction. When you deliver projects on time and under budget, and are accountable and transparent about time you’ve spent and the work you’ve done, client trust, confidence, and happiness grow. And happy, trusting clients are the ones that come back time after time, bringing lovely new creative challenges.

  5. Smooth out the wrinkles. Poor cash flow is one of the primary causes of small business failure. Contributing to the problem are outdated, clumsy, or admin-heavy time-tracking and billing procedures. When time tracking is easy for team members, and reports are instantly available to managers, fewer errors are made, and the time between completing a job and billing for it is reduced. A quicker billing cycle smooths cash flow, making more time and energy available for the fun stuff.

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